Films that cover important figures in British history have long been Oscar bait, but there’s never been one quite like The Favourite. This film puts powerful historical women at the forefront and shows their beauty, their grace, and every. single. flaw. It’s a refreshing almost-dramedy to break up the parade of aesthetically-pleasing, slow-paced, period pieces that usually become Oscar fodder.

*spoilers*

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Fox Searchlight

Recommended for those who enjoy discussions of pop culture and theatre

Birdman (2014) is a dark dramedy written and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, starring Michael Keaton as the titular character. One of the eight Academy Award nominations for Best Picture this year, the plot circles around themes of ego, culture, and the price of fame, ultimately settling on the question, “What do we really want from life?” In fact, the film opens with a quote from American author Raymond Carver: “And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?”

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Fox Searchlight

Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is a has-been action blockbuster star who dreams of making a comeback in the form of his new play–his adaptation of a Raymond Carver work that he’s directing and starring in. The first act of the film gives us tension in a last-minute actor switch, which allows Mike Shiner (Edward Norton) to shake things up with his unpredictable temperament and method acting. As the last minute rehearsals and preview nights lead up to big opening, Thomson is plagued by thoughts of self doubt, tension with his daughter, Sam (Emma Stone), and a desire to prove that he is “more” than his stint as the fictional film superhero “Birdman.”